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Posts Tagged ‘Entertaining’

I just wasted 4 hours of my life. Invited to a henna (mehndi) party. Got all dressed up thinking it would be ladies event. my bad. Next time I am going to pull on my abaya over my pjs.

The decor was lovely- that I was enjoying along with the yummy appetizers; until I got a preview of the belly dancers’ decolletage in the ladies room. Why do people invite people like me to these things anyway? Felt like such a prissy goody two shoes excusing myself with the lovely hostess because I felt ‘uncomfortable’. She was so sweet wanted us to stay for dinner- so I gathered my girls & a friend’s teenager and headed to the newest ice cream shop in town called SHAVE IT, promising her we will be back in time for dinner.

The whole ‘show’ was for the viewing pleasure of the few dozen white guests, to introduce them to the groom’s Egyptian and bride’s Pakistani heritage.  The groom’s family sat in a corner miffed, not exactly thrilled by the Diane of Belly Dancers Unlimited’s hijack of their culture.

Three or four Pakistani women were on the lit dance floor in an otherwise dark room, when I wandered in 45 minutes later, dancing as if to prove something, nothing joyous or spontaneous about their moves.  No men up there with them; they were busy staring hungrily from the sidelines.

The invitation said 6 o’clock so naturally most of the non-desis showed up at 6:00.  Dinner wasn’t served until 10:00. Feeding the non-desi guests on time would have served our culture better. Dinner before the dancing starts always; this way guests who do not want to be ‘entertained’ can leave without rejecting the hospitality of the host.

I really have to ponder what we are trying to prove about our culture after I examined the dancer’s brochure left on the entrance, next to the rose petals and the dripping ruby-red candles.  Clad in Hollywood inspired harem costumes with angel wings ‘veils’, a superstar dance troupe, not one of them Arab or South Asian.  The all male bhangra act also hired for the night were fully covered; why is it always the women who have to expose their bodies to entertain?

Was the henna ceremony itself not enough culture, the aroma of the mehndi and oil rubbed on to the bride’s hands. The mithai (sweets) in an antique silver bowl, placed lovingly or playfully in the bride’s mouth, depending on who is feeding her. The rose & jasmine jewellery and garlands fashioned by hand, the bangles placed by every dinner plate. Why do we HAVE to dilute our identities?  Give them an authentic Pakistani or Egyptian experience, it is enough. We have such an inferiority complex!

At my sis-in loves (inlaws) wedding, we had more than 200  non-desis attend. The beauty of our simple nikaah ceremony, the grand arrival of the barat, the greeting & feeding of the guests, the recitation of the quran, the poetry reading by my husband’s grandfather,  including Allah in the celebration of a new life left many of them marveling at the grace in our faith & culture.


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We are hosting a dholki (a pre-wedding girls party, where we sing wedding songs) for my sis in law. I had a mini one in December for her but this will be her grand going away party. First we thought of hosting bridal shower for her but she is all ready having TWO. So it would be over kill.
Our theme is damask. LOOOOVVE IT both of us love it- its classy, crisp and looks stylish on everything from invitations, decor to favors.
Deciding on damask party favors:
How cute are these lip balms! they are for about $1.30 at this  website other places have them for $2.50

All Natural Ingredients: organic palm oil, beeswax, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic hemp seed oil, vitamin E, rosemary extract, and SPF 15

Damask Lip balm

Placecard holders I am thinking we could put the wedding prayer on it (Dua for the bride and groom) $1.30 (90 cents if you order more than 80)

Damask Placecard holders

Bingo! These mirrors are so couture and practical Bit pricey at $3.oo each but if you don’t too many attendees these would be great

Damask Mirror Favor

Photo frame/coasters/placecard holders although these aren’t strictly damask

Black & White Coaster photo frame

My favorite these would look so adorable in any bathroom

Heart shaped soap in a box

Candles are a classic. These are $1.40 but if you order 72 or more then they are as low as $.90
These candles would fit our theme perfectly-my only concern is that they aren’t unique

Damask Candle Favors

If you don’t want to spend too much these mints tins were the cheapest 58 cents each! Fill them up with Jelly beans or M&Ms

Damask tins

These are tiny but way cute– they are $1.53 each if you order 72 or more otherwise $1.92 each

Wedding Lipbalm customize in damask

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My poor devraani is 8 months pregnant but I have been there done that; last two weddings in the family, I was full-term. My sister-in-law is getting married to my sis in law’s brother- that’s being desi for you. Nand to Devraani’s brother.  Very didi tera dewar dewane.  I love party/wedding planning-note to self: potential career option once kiddos are grown up. Which one should we choose? Would love comments

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For the first time in my life I am a part of a committee as in BC, DC , kitty party. What is a BC? you make ask. A group of women gather together to pool their money into a ‘fund’; every one puts in x amount of money into the ‘pot’ ie. $500. One lucky sister gets the to take the kitty home. ( Every month a different woman takes the money until the round in complete)

Here is how to set one up –

  1. Gather like-minded women you trust- usually works well with at least 12 women- one for each month
  2. Decide the amount of the “fund” ie. $12,000
  3. Decide the amount of contribution. For example- if the fund is 12,000 then the participants can choose to give the whole $1000 a month and take $12,000 when it is their turn OR they can have a partner and contribute $500 each and take $6000 when it is their turn.
  4. Appoint one coordinator who reminds people of the dates and amounts. This person is also in charge of gathering all the checks and giving it to the lucky sister.( Don’t do cash, as its harder to take care of and bills may turn out counterfeit)
  5. Decide at the beginning of the session who will receive the money in which month either by lottery or by request.
  6. Decide a fun activity for the participants to do when they get together ie. In our BC the gal who gets the “fund” hosts a dinner at her house. Others go out to restaurants or have speakers come in or take a class together whats ever works.

It is a great way for ladies to socialize and save some money. Women can also ask for the kitty at a time when they most need it ie. an upcoming wedding in the family, vacations, a trip to the ‘maikah’ (their parent’s home) or any other reason when they don’t want to ask their husbands for spending money.  This tradition is very common in the subcontinent. Credit cards are a very new phenomenon in there. And bank loans for women who don’t have a steady income are non-existent. So from the villages in Gujrat to the mega city of Karachi, women from all strata of society indulge.  One friend of mine renovated her kitchen with the money. My neighbor asked for the first take and bought a car – INTEREST free and paid it off in a year!!

I had my reservations at first. Why do I need to do this? I can always get an interest free credit card and buy what ever I need or just try to save some money in a drawer. That reminds me of Maasi- my mother’s maid, who saves her money under her mattress only to have her druggie son steal it. I have dual degree in Accounting and a BBA I should be able to save money in a bank account somewhere!!  But I know myself- I am not good with cash, I ‘ll lose it or spend it or give it away (when I feel guilty). Credit cards never give me the feeling of accomplishment – mostly I make impulse purchases and later get buyer’s remorse. Thank God for my husband’s policy of paying off credit cards at the end of the month. I think when you save up for something it means more to you. It has VALUE.

The choice I had to make was should I ask to receive the money at the beginning or at the end. The beginning would work well for people who have a hard time getting a loan or even a credit card. I decided the end will work for me; this way whatever I buy or save for will have value because I actually waited for it for a whole 12 months instead of the instant gratification we all have become accustomed to.

Anyways, since I am the lucky sistah this month, I get to host the party at my house. All ladies means No hijab!   To offset the gossip fest and to remember God when He blesses us – I asked a lovely sister to speak. Maybe we can make zikr together… Alhamduillilah (Praise the Lord) now I don’t have to stress about my sister in law’s wedding in July- I saved up enough for the tickets to the East Coast, her wedding gift, and shopping!! Now to cook some Persian food…

Here is my menu :

Pita Chips and Hummus (Not really Persian but it’ll do)

Herb Salad with Pomegranate with Tahini dressing

Herb Salad with Pomegranate with Tahini Dressing


Kashk-e Bademjan based on my favorite Persian restaurant in Sacramento Scheharzade

some people like it chunky but I prefer it really smooth and smothered in Olive Oil.

  • 6 small eggplants, peeled
  • 1 large or 2 medium yellow onions
  • 2 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped (dried mint also works here)
  • few cloves garlic
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 cup of  kashk- this is whey- I buy the B.B. brand from small Persian store called Mom and Pop’s Deli
  1. Roast the eggplants in their skins until they collapse- I do this in our BBQ to give them a smoky flavor or you can use a touch od liquid smoke in the oven; peel, then proceed as below
  2. Fry the onions until golden brown.
  3. Remove all  but two tablespoon of the onions from the pot.  Add the mint to the onions. Continue to fry until the mint is fragrant, and the onions are medium-dark brown and starting to crisp a bit. Remove and set aside; use this for garnish.
  4. Add garlic until it pops. Return the rest of the onions and eggplants to the pot. Add the tomato and season lightly with salt & pepper (the kashk is quite salty, so be careful).
  5. Use a mixer, mash the eggplants until smooth
  6. Add one cup of kashk, whip until mousse-like. Re-season, if necessary.
  7. Garnish with extra-virgin olive oil and the fried onion/mint mixture.
  8. Serve warm or at room temperature with pita or use as a delicious side with your koobideh and tahdig.
Tahdig with Potatoes & Zaresh
( Dr. Z’s, my mum-in-law’s best friend who spent quite some time in Tehran as a newlywed taught me how to make this but I added my twists to it – ofcourse!)
Tahdig with Potatoes & Zaresh

Tahdig with Potatoes & Zaresh

and finally my habibi’s favorite Koobideh Kebob

Koobideh Kebob

That is recipe is another post by itself since it has evolved over the course of my marriage.

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